11.10.2008

Here Comes the Sun?

I had one of those days. One of those days when you thought you'd heard everything, then someone opened her mouth and you realize that yes, it could get worse. And did.

It started innocently enough, with my quest to fill a prescription written for me by my health professional -- someone who knows intimately about my health AND who is a PROFESSIONAL. Remember that. It will be important later.

The prescription was for "light box therapy," or the purchase of a special light that emits a certain level of UV rays designed to mimic sunlight during the gray, short winter days. Research has shown that using the light for 20-30 minutes a day can help boost the mood of people suffering from certain mood disorders. It involves serotonin and other brain chemicals and processes that I'm not sure anyone fully fathoms. But the point is, researchers say it works. My psychiatrist believes in its value. And, therefore, I had a prescription in my hands which I thought would mean a quick visit to a medical supply store, signing on the dotted line, and sending the paperwork to my insurance company for processing.

Oh silly me. Like I really thought it would be that simple. Actually, I didn't. I put off doctors several times when they tried to convince me I should get one because I just knew getting the insurance company to cover it would be like tightrope walking on a serrated knife edge. Painful, bloody, self-defeating.

Welcome to today. I won't bore you with many details. I'll just hit the highlights...
• 1.5 hours dealing with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Minnesota (and its sister company BC&BS of Iowa -- and yes there's a reason why BS is in the name), as well as numerous medical supply stores and my shrink's office
• Three or four different people within BC&BS, telling me three or four different stories about coverage, deductibles, and what qualifies as a necessity
• A trip to the shrink's office to get a new script with super special secret decoder-ring wording on it, guaranteed to appease the insurance Gestapo
• Listening to the medical supply store customer talk to me in her "confiscate any sharp objects and go grab the men in white coats" voice
• A request for a third version of the script, this time to include special codes (see, I was not kidding about the decoder ring) identifying just exactly what the hell is so wrong with me that I'd need one of these damn lights in the first place

All I wanted was another tool, along with meds and individual therapy and exercise, to help me manage my illness. I wasn't even expecting the insurance to pay for all of it. I guess, deep down, I figured they'd figure out some way to say I wasn't eligible for coverage and would have to pay out-of-pocket anyway. Which is exactly what I'll probably have to do once I hear back from the supply store woman tomorrow morning after she and the insurance folks have a conference call chitty-chat about whether I'm trying to pull off some big scam to steal boxes of sunshine.

It's exactly why insurance coverage is completely assbackwards. I'm trying to prevent relapses of my diagnosed illness. No coverage. However, if I were to spiral down into the darkest depths of depression and threaten to slit my wrists, they'd pay several thousand dollars a day for inpatient treatment. How much sense does that just NOT make. Doesn't exactly give me a boatload of incentive.

The one thing that does make me want to get better is that it feels good to feel better. Even if insurance won't pay, I'll buy the damn $220 light box myself. Actually I'll buy one through Amazon.com, the one my doc recommended in the first place, ultra-portable and with the latest blue spectrum light therapy techonology. It's less than $170 and shipping's free.

Happy Birthday to me, I guess. I'm worth it. Even if they don't think so.

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